Abafana bes’Thende were one of the surprise packages in the Premier Soccer League this season – despite an inexperienced squad, they finished fourth
Golden Arrows chairperson and acting PSL CEO Mato Madlala says the success of the Durban club is based on the systems which are in place rather than the influence of former coach Steve Komphela.
It was under the guidance of Mandla Ncikazi that Arrows enjoyed a fine season; Ncikazi stepped up from the assistant coach position to take the head role after Komphela’s departure to Mamelodi Sundowns last October.
At Sundowns, Komphela has served as an assistant to the two co-coaches at the championship-winning club, Manqoba Mngqiti and Rhulani Mokwena. Mngqiti is also a former Arrows coach and won the MTN8 competition while in charge in Durban.
It could be thought that Komphela laid the foundations for Ncikazi’s success – the squad this season was after all the same one which Komphela had moulded during what was a stay just short of two years at the KwaZulu-Natal club.
Madlala, however, refuted such a suggestion.
“How many seasons Steve spent at the club? You sound like my players were relying on him to gain experience,” she was quoted saying by the Daily Sun.
“I think he had one full season and a half, so I wasn’t concerned. My club has a good structure and it is the structure that led us to succeed.
“As long as the structure and the foundation are right, chances of failing are none existence. I didn’t get worried to see Steve go, not at all.”
The 52-year-old Ncikazi was a nominee for PSL Coach of the Season, but he lost out to AmaZulu tactician Benni McCarthy.
His only previous experience as a head coach came at Maritzburg United, but he lasted only five matches.
Komphela’s success at helping Sundowns win the league title last season was the first time the former Kaizer Chiefs defender and head coach has won silverware since retiring as a player.
He also coached at Free State Stars, Manning Rangers, Maritzburg United, Platinum Stars and was a caretaker Bafana Bafana coach for two games, as well as working with various SA national youth teams.